Wagon Busily Rolling on after 'Ancient History' of Longbridge Collapse

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Byline: By Joanna Geary

MG Rover's collapse is "ancient history" for automotive components group Wagon, its finance director said yesterday.

As the Warwick-based manufacturer posted an expected 16 per cent dip in first-half pretax profit, Richard Cotton said Wagon was no longer affected by the car giant's demise"We closed our Oxford plant back in May because of the loss of MG Rover, but the automotive industry moves fast and May was a very long time ago for us."

Mr Cotton's comments came as the firm announced the acquisition of German engineering firm FKT and a 16 per cent dip in its first-half profits.

Wagon will pay up to pounds 7.7 million for FKT, which mainly supplies German original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with automotive sun blinds and storage solutions.

The manufacturer bought FKT for pounds 4 million in cash and up to pounds 3.7 million in Wagon shares over three years. It expects the acquisition to be earnings enhancing in the first full year.

FKT employs 115 people at one facility in Pforring, near Ingolstadt in southern Germany, and in 2004 made pounds 300,000 pretax profit on sales of pounds 6.7 million.

The purchase is part of Wagon's strategy to expand its range of products with a higher engineering content"The business is complementary in products and customers to our Bressuire Innovative Solutions business, and will deliver synergies through the broadening of Wagon's customer base - particularly in Germany," the company said.

Wagon also met expectations by announcing a fall in pretax profits to pounds 7. …